Pump up the adrenaline at Jumpin Heights

Pump up the adrenaline at Jumpin Heights

At the jump site, make sure to lookat eye-level before taking the jump.

I don’t usually turn down a chance to try an adventurous activity but as I stood on a towering platform overlooking a serene lake, cowering at the thought of jumping off it, I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew.

I was at Jumpin Heights, the first commercial bungee jumping facility in India. After launching their first location in Rishikesh at a height of 80 metres, the company collaborated with the Government of Goa and the Goa Tourism Board and launched the second location at Mayem Lake in Bicholim, where I went. This one has a height of 55 metres.

Recently, I flew down to Goa from Bengaluru in an early morning flight. After a quick nap at the hotel and a short tour of North Goa, my cab driver took me to the bungee jumping site, to give me an idea of what to expect.

We couldn’t enter the premises as they are closed on Tuesdays but what I saw — a serene lake surrounded by a thick forest — seemed to be a perfect spot for my first jump. I was excited.

Since it was my first time, I had done some research to know the do’s and don’ts of the adventure sport. What kept me up that night was not the thought of jumping but all that could go wrong — what if I throw up, what if the rope detaches, what if the harness accidentally snaps? The biggest question I had was what happens after I go down?

The next day, after a light breakfast, I headed towards the site. The road — narrow but smooth — took us to Mayem village; it took us 45 minutes to reach the destination.

As I entered the bungee centre, I walked down to the reception area, where there was a café, a video generation centre, a selfie point and a pop-up store where one could shop for different souvenirs.

A few minutes later, an instructor took me to the ‘briefing room’. This stage is quite crucial and everyone, especially first-timers, should pay attention to the video presentation that talks about the do’s and don’ts. They also brief you on the safety measures taken to prevent untoward incidents.

Shortly after the video, I had to fill up a health questionnaire and also sign a liability waiver form. The instructor asked me to step on the weighing scale and wrote my weight at the back of my palm — this is done so the jump instructor at the spot
can calculate the weight of the bungee rope.

Once the initial formalities were completed, I was handed out a slip that had my weight printed on it. This is an important piece of information — there are multiple security checks — without which you won’t be allowed to go anywhere near the jumping site.

At the jump site, I was asked to sit down on a platform; first the trainer fixed my harness and then he put my legs together and wrapped a thick padding around my ankles. It was tightly fastened with a cord which was later connected to the bungee rope.

The instructor asked me to walk towards the ledge. I did so slowly, with heavy ankles and a racing heart. My jump-master engaged me in conversation but by then, I was too nervous to talk. Standing at the edge of the ledge, I looked down, at the vast water body below me. The drop felt too tall and I felt as if I was looking into nothingness.

I am usually not scared of heights but as the instructor began to count, I freaked out. “I can’t do this”, I said, as my palms turned ice-cold.

The instructor sat me down and gave me a small pep talk (they are extraordinarily patient and sweet, considering they
deal with the same situation on a daily basis).

He told me how I had travelled such a great distance for this, and how, once I complete it successfully, I could go back and boast about it to my friends (talk about hitting one’s weak point). I had one more try left — every person gets two attempts. If you don’t jump during the second time, you can go back. No pressure but no refund either!

I told him I needed a few minutes to calm down. Then I got up, took a deep breath and took the plunge at the count of three. The next 10 seconds of free fall felt never-ending. I remembered experiencing the same feeling one gets as a child, when they sit on the swing. That rush of blood, butterflies in the stomach and a
weird tornado passing through my whole body.

After a few bounces and rebounds, and after many many screams, as the experience ended — I felt calm and victorious. I had done it.

The bungee rope with me dangling at the end of it was lowered and a raft with two people came towards me. They passed a pole and asked me to grab it, so they could pull me down. Once I became stable, I lay down on the raft as the crew unbuckled my harness.

After the jump, I went to the video centre to collect the video. They also gave me a certificate and a badge with the words, ‘You have got guts!’

Yes! Though it was a nerve-wracking moment, I am glad I ticked off my first extreme sport from the list and lived to tell the tale.

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